Mayor John DeStefano Jr.spoke out against a proposed wage hikein a Wednesdaypress conference a dayafter an aldermanic debateon the matter lasted more than five hours.
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The proposal was written by Ward 1 Alderman Mike Jones ’11and threeother aldermen who would raise the “living wage” — the minimum salary, based on economic indices, for an average household to meet everyday costs— to $14.67per hour from $12. The proposal would cover city employeesand workers of some City Hall-affiliated businesses.
City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Mayorgasaid Wednesdaythat although the mayor believes having a living wage is important, the aldermanic proposal would place a financial burden on the city, its taxpayers and its nonprofits.Mayorga said the cost of the current proposal would be upwards of $15million.
“[DeStefano] feels strongly this is something we need to give great thought to,” Mayorga said. “This is not a step in the right direction for economic development in the city.”
In response to the press conference, Jones said he was “really surprised”by DeStefano’s “aggressive tone.”Still, Jones said he and the other authors of the legislation will meet with city officials Friday.
At a public hearing Tuesday night, city officials expressed their concern with the proposal. Over a dozenpeople spoke at the hearing, some heralding the proposal’s plan to increase the quality of life for residents and others denouncing the proposal’s financial toll.
Jones said City Hall has not yet told him which organizations would be affected by the aldermanic proposal.
The aldermen originally submitted the living wage hike in April. The city has had a living wage law in its books since 1997.